Happy 70th, Troop 36!

It’s not easy for an organization to last 70 years.

It’s even tougher when your membership turns over every few years.

But Westport’s Scout Troop 36 has done just that.

70th anniversary patch, designed by troop member Oliver Saitz.

Organized in 1949 by Saugatuck Congregational Church, the troop has helped thousands of boys learn life skills, become leaders, and form lasting friendships.

It’s weathered the ups and downs of Scouting nationally. Boy Scouts of America is now called “Scouts BSA.” In addition to offering programs for girls, Scouts now accept gay and transgender members.

Numbers have waxed and waned over the years. In 2015, there were only 9 Scouts. Today, 28 boys are members of Troop 36.

They meet every Monday night in Hoskins Hall, and hold one outing a month. Last year they went cold-weather camping in the Berkshires, spent a weekend exploring Philadelphia, backpacked up Mount Greylock, took their annual trip to Block Island and went whitewater rafting, among other adventures.

Service work includes support of the Westport Maker Faire, participating in a coastal cleanup at Sherwood Island State Park, assisting with worship and grounds cleanup at Saugatuck Church, and cleaning drainage areas at Camp Sequassen.

Every 2 years for many years, they attended the Scottish Jamboree in Edinburgh.

This July, 5 Scouts will participate in the 24th World Scout Jamboree in West Virginia. They’ll join 45,000 others from over 165 countries.

In 2006, newly installed Eagle Scouts gathered with Scoutmaster Jack Berry.

No Eagle Scout records exist prior to 1961. But from that year through 2017, 123 boys earned the prestigious Eagle Scout rank.

The troop’s history includes longtime scoutmaster Jack Berry. Last June — 4 years after his death — he was honored with a plaque, at the Saugatuck Church.

Jack was one of many adult leaders and young Scouts who helped Troop 36 for 70 years. Congratulations to all — and good luck for the next 70!

15 responses to “Happy 70th, Troop 36!

  1. Charles Taylor


  2. Peter Hirst

    Some great memories, especially of Scoutmaster Vinnie Franscino. Early 60s.

  3. Bob Stalling

    Yes, great memories….
    My dad was assistant Scoutmaster to Bob Gill for many years, and then Scoutmaster for many years after that…
    Congratulations Troop 36

  4. David Stalling

    Congratulations to Troop 36! It’s great to see the Troop still going strong and adapting to changing times. Troop 36 was an important and influential part of my life: My father, Ed Stalling Sr. (an Eagle Scout) was the Scoutmaster for more than 30 years and my brothers Ed, Bob and myself all earned the rank of Eagle Scout with the Troop. Great memories!

    • Don Skelly

      I was a Scout under your Dads leadership. It was a great experience! So many great memories. Excited to carry on the tradition as my boys are now Scouts.

    • Your dad felt like a father to me, too. I miss him! I tried to honor his memory by becoming a scoutmaster myself.

      Was it you or one of your brothers who worked at Camp Aquila one summer, pranking a self-professed tree identification expert by using scissors to cut each leaf of a tree into different shapes?

      All my best to you and your family. Say hi to Tim for me.

      • David Stalling

        Ha! Great memory! That was me. I spent five summers working at Camp Aquila. It was a wonderful, beautiful place. Good to hear from you; I hope you are well.

        • Brad Hurley

          I seem to remember you had a nickname at camp: “Ditch Digger Dave”. The things we remember from our childhood!

          Things are well. I’m visiting Westport right now, so I’m feeling a little nostalgic for the “old days”. I live outside of Hartford now, and try to get into the outdoors as much as possible.

  5. Ruth Donohue

    There was nobody like Jack Berry. Our family has 2 Eagle Scouts, now grown men with children of their own, and countless memories thanks to him and Troop 36. Very happy to see the troop continue.

  6. It’s a Great Day for Scouting! 53 years ago, June of 1966 I became one of the Troop 36 Eagle Scouts. After College graduation I spent a summer as Senior Photographer at Philmont Scout Ranch. I was a Scoutmaster here in Colorado for several years and attended Woodbadge at Philmont. And I can still recall those Monday night meetings in the “Social Hall” (at the time) and two weeks at Camp Mauwheu (R.I.P.) for 5 years. The two stars on the Scout Badge stand for “Truth and Knowledge” continue on…..

  7. Sandra Long

    In addition to a history of great scouting in Troop 36, the new leader Craig Patton is also wonderful. His program is action oriented and the reason so many new scouts have joined over the past year. Nice article and recognition for Troop 36 Dan!

  8. Darcy Sledge

    Troop 36 gave my son wonderful experiences, from 2 national jamborees, 2 jamborets in Scotland, and countless leadership opportunities that served him so well in adulthood . We were lucky to have Jack Berry at the helm during these years. Jack was larger than life. Glad the troop is thriving !

  9. Michelle Dodd

    Dan – Thanks for the great article highlighting this amazing milestone for Troop 36 and honoring the memory of storied Scoutmaster Jack Berry. Mr. Berry truly was an exceptional man. It was a privilege to work with him and witness his many gifts in building and shaping boys into men. However, what many people may not realize is that this troop would not have reached the 70th Anniversary if it weren’t for another extraordinary leader: current Scoutmaster Craig Patton. After Jack Berry’s passing, the troop was challenged in keeping its head above water. Many scouts moved to other troops due to lack of confidence. Mr. Patton stepped up during this difficult time and showed perseverance every week — serving as a model for scouts and adults alike, proving his incredible leadership skills. Without Mr. Patton’s commitment, dedication, wisdom and enthusiasm, Troop 36 would not be what it is today. As a member of the adult leadership team under both Mr. Berry and Mr. Patton, I can say for a fact that Troop wouldn’t be at this 70th anniversary if it weren’t for Mr. Patton’s dedication and resolve. My son was fortunate enough to benefit from the generosity of time and talent both these men provided, as well as all the other adult volunteers who made Troop 36 the great organization that it is. Congratulations and hats off to all, with much gratitude to Mr. Patton in particular.

  10. Ed Stalling

    Congrats Troop 36 and to all the Scoutmasters – Vinnie Franscino, Bob Gill, my father Ed Stalling, Jack Berry and now Craig Patton — who gave so much of their time to give us the experience and skills to forge our own paths. What a great Troop it has always been!

  11. Congratulations!!! Happy 70th!